# Cartesian coordinate system

**Cartesian** means relating to the French mathematician and philosopher
**Descartes**, who, among other things, worked to merge algebra and
Euclidean
geometry. This work was influential in the development of analytic geometry,
calculus, and cartography.

The idea of this system was developed in 1637 in two writings by Descartes.
In Discourse on Method, in part two, he introduces the new idea of specifying
the position of a point or object on a surface, using two intersecting axes as
measuring guides. In *La Gï¿½omï¿½trie*, he further explores the above-mentioned
concepts.

In analytic geometry the Cartesian coordinate system is the foundation for the algebraic manipulation of geometrical shapes. Many other coordinate systems have been developed since Descartes. One common set of systems use polar coordinates; astronomers often use spherical coordinates, a type of polar coordinate system. In different branches of mathematics coordinate systems can be transformed, translated, rotated, and re-defined altogether to simplify calculation and for specialized ends.

It may be interesting to note that some have indicated that the master artists of the Renaissance used a grid, in the form of a wire mesh, as a tool for breaking up the component parts of their subjects they painted--a trade secret.

**See also**

2D | Two-dimensional coordinate system |

3D | Three-dimensional coordinate system |

Angle | Definition of an angle |

Axis | Definition of Cartesian axis |

Cartesian geometry | What is Cartesian geometry? |

Coordinate system | Definition of coordinates |

Curve | Definition of a curve |

Distance | Definition of distance |

Euclidean geometry | What is Euclidean geometry? |

Geometry | Definition of geometry |

Length | Definition of length |

Line | Definition of a line |

Origin | Definition of origin in a Cartesian coordinate system |

Perspective projection | Definition of perspective projection |

Planar homography | Definition of planar homography |

Plane | Definition of a plane |

Point | Definition of a point |

Point (kinematics) | Definition of a point (kinematics) |

Projective geometry | What is projective geometry? |

Segment (kinematics) | Definition of a segment (kinematics) |

Vanishing points | Definition of vanishing points and vanishing lines in perspective projection |

Vector | Definition of a vector |